One day after a critical meeting related to potential investors who could help secure the PGA Tour’s economic foundation, Rory McIlroy abruptly resigned his position from the organization’s influential policy board Tuesday, citing “professional and personal commitments,” according to a memo from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

The decision and timing of McIlroy’s announcement leave more questions than answers as the world’s second-ranked golfer had taken on a leadership role during a tumultuous period for the tour. McIlroy was among the most vocal golfers about the threat posed by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.

Monahan shared the news in a memo to players Tuesday evening, saying McIlroy submitted his resignation earlier in the day – less than 24 hours after the Northern Irish golfer took part in the board’s quarterly meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, an all-day summit at which members were briefed on investment proposals from several groups. The board took no formal action but agreed to continue discussions with some of the finalists.

“Given the extraordinary time and effort that Rory – and all of his fellow Player Directors – have invested in the Tour during this unprecedented, transformational period in our history, we certainly understand and respect his decision to step down in order to focus on his game and his family,” Monahan wrote.

It was Monahan’s second memo of the day to players. On Tuesday morning, he briefed them on the board meeting but made no mention of McIlroy and did not disclose any potential conflicts or disagreements that would have led to his departure from the board.

Monahan and Ed Herlihy, chair of the policy board, thanked McIlroy for his service in a statement Tuesday night, saying the golfer’s “insight has been instrumental in helping shape the success of the Tour, and his willingness to thoughtfully voice his opinions has been especially impactful.”


McIlroy’s agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McIlroy met with reporters Tuesday, ahead of the DP World Tour’s season finale in Dubai, and didn’t mention any qualms with his spot on the board. He again said he was hopeful the tour would soon reach terms with the deep-pocketed Saudis – “the faster something gets done, the better,” he said – and was then asked whether he enjoyed having a seat at the decision-making table.

“Not particularly, no,” he said. “Not what I signed for whenever I went on the board. But, yeah, the game of professional golf has been in flux for the last two years.”

McIlroy served three years on the tour’s player advisory council before joining the policy board in 2022. He has been among the organization’s most influential voices as it has navigated a precarious period, first during the coronavirus pandemic and then through the existential crisis posed by LIV Golf, which siphoned off tour players with lucrative contract offers and upended the economics of the sport.

While McIlroy has long been critical of LIV Golf, he has recently expressed a willingness to work with its controversial benefactors, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. More than five months after announcing a proposed partnership with the PIF, the PGA Tour still hasn’t agreed to final terms and has started entertaining offers from other investors.

“I would hope when we go through this process, the PIF are the ones that are involved in the framework agreement,” McIlroy said during an appearance last week on CNBC. “Obviously, there’s been other suitors that have been involved and offering their services and their help. But hopefully, when this is all said and done, I sincerely hope that the PIF are involved and we can bring the game of golf back together.”


As one of the most recognizable faces in the game, McIlroy has relationships with people across the golf universe, from Monahan to PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan to Tiger Woods. He is also closely aligned with Fenway Sports Group, which is considered a front-runner to invest in the tour and take on a leading role in establishing a new for-profit entity called PGA Tour Enterprises, according to two people familiar with the discussions. The Boston-based private holding company owns the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, Liverpool Football Club and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It also recently invested in Boston Common Golf, one of six teams in the TGL indoor golf league, a new venture founded by McIlroy and Woods that’s slated to begin play in January. McIlroy is the anchor of the Boston team.

The PGA Tour is still negotiating with the Saudis, and people familiar with the process say a tour partnership with Fenway Sports Group or other investors doesn’t necessarily preclude the PIF from moving forward with an investment in the tour. Under terms of the initial agreement struck in June, the tour and the Saudi PIF have until the end of the year to reach a final deal, though people close to the process say an extension is likely.

Monahan told players in the memo Tuesday morning that the tour is still “focused on our negotiations toward a Definitive Agreement” with the PIF, adding that “progress has been deliberate.”

Players were initially blindsided by the PIF deal. It prompted them to argue for more representation on the policy board, and Woods was added in August. Monday brought Woods’ first meeting – and McIlroy’s last. The remaining players on the policy board will select another golfer to finish McIlroy’s term, which runs through 2024. The 12-person policy board is composed of six independent directors and six players. The other players are Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson.

McIlroy’s departure marks the second policy board resignation since the tour announced plans to partner with the PIF. Former AT&T executive Randall Stephenson resigned his position in July, saying he had “serious concerns” about the tour’s decision to work with the Saudis.


LPGA: Already offering the single-largest payday in women’s golf, the LPGA said that next year’s winner of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship will receive $4 million, equal to the PGA Tour’s new signature events.

The big increase — double what the winner gets this year — comes from a two-year extension with Chicago-based CME Group, which sponsors the season-long Race to CME Globe.

The extension includes a purse increase to $11 million next year — up from $7 million. Along with the winner receiving $4 million, the runner-up gets $1 million and all 60 players to reach the season finale are guaranteed at least $55,000.

A year ago, second place paid $550,000 and last place was worth $40,125.

“As a long-standing supporter of women in business and sports, CME Group is pleased to continue our partnership with the LPGA to further elevate women’s golf,” said Terry Duffy, chairman and CEO of CME Group.

He said the prize increase “will make our event even more exciting for the players and spectators, while bringing more parity to the game.”

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